Friday, July 15, 2005

CN Tower Village

Last week I had this great dream. I know, I know, but listen:

I dreamed that I met up with someone I've recently met, and he wanted to show me where he lived. It turned out he lived in the CN Tower. In the dream, the top 2 decks of the Tower were, and had always been, a kind of co-op housing complex. My friend showed me around. It was vivid and fantastic, compact and 3-D-mazelike and ingeniously designed, like a cross between Habitat '67 and a cleaned-up, Canadianized Walled City of Kowloon. It had that slightly shabby, faded-'70s-utopian architectural aesthetic that I associate with the Tower and with Ontario Place. The units at the very top had rooftops open to the sky. You could go up there and sunbathe -- nude, if you wanted to, because who was going to see? A ten-foot, inward-curving wall circled the rooftop so you wouldn't be blown off by the wind. Inside, there weren't a lot of windows, but lots of indirect natural light, thanks to cleverly constructed lightshafts. Light-filled stairwells, tunnel-like corridors that were two or three stories deep & roofed with windows. The village was very self-sufficient, with a school and a grocery store and even some hydroponic farming. All the bathrooms were grouped together to allow for energy-efficient plumbing, and all looked out at one end on a large vertical narrow square space, where the sunlight got in. You could stand in this space and look up at this big square of uniformly dark-blue bathrooms, listening to the splash and hum of activity: the sounds of people showering, children being bathed.

The residents were a great crowd, like Ward's Islanders but a bit younger and hipper. Most of them seemed to be writers or artists. They took a lot of pride in their community, keeping the village in excellent shape and producing a weekly newsletter. A group of them stood around telling me anecdotes about life in the Tower. One of them told me how just last week he'd been having some beers with friends in a cool new Tower bar, and after a few they'd decided to investigate a trapdoor in the floor, and had found themselves in a barn room with a couple of goats. The others cracked up at the memory. "Now where else in Toronto are you going to see something like that?"

What I remember most is the feeling of cosy seclusion, like I was a thousand miles away from Toronto and yet I could get back there in minutes if I wanted to; it was kind of like Ward's Island, and kind of like a space station. Of course, later I told Leslie about it & she said, "OH MY GOD, that's SUCH a penis dream. It was the CN Tower! And you were on top of it! And you were naked!" etc. Well, all right, that's one way of looking at it. Personally, I can't look at the Tower now without dreaming of seeing the top half requisitioned as an artists' co-op, gutted and redesigned by Rem Koolhaas. After all, the broadcast transmission centre that's up there now is rapidly becoming obsolete. Maybe the next time we get an NDP provincial government.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Liav K. said...

That's excellent. I've been very obsessed with with the Tower lately (and, umm, have also started calling it just "The Tower" for dramatic effect) and have been thinking about doing some pseudo-historical fiction about it. If you think about it, it's a really really weird... thing.

[also! Have you noticed that another utility box has been mac-tac'd at college and Spadina?]

12:17 AM, July 17, 2005  
Blogger Nadia said...

Hi Liav: Re: utility box: Yes! Where are they getting all that psychadelic mactac, anyway?

And yes, The Tower is a weird thing that we're all used to taking for granted. I think the obvious phallic symbolism distracts people from thinking about the deeper weirdness of it. I'm thinking of writing a short story based on this dream, myself. Toronto needs more Tower fiction!

1:01 AM, July 17, 2005  
Anonymous Liav K. said...

Hmm. Perhaps we could edit each other, or something? Maybe Photo-copy publish a tower chap-book?

7:58 PM, July 18, 2005  
Anonymous ward said...

visionary. i had a similar in spirit not at all in particulars dream when i first moved into arcadia, which is an artists' coop with a rooftop garden from which you can, of course, see the cn tower. in the dream, arcadia was tall, impossibly tall, was in the middle of manhattan, and looked down at greenwich village which glowed far away in the evening like a bed of gold. what would we do without these sleeping utopias, treehouses in a forest of sky?

great entry, nadia. more, more ...

5:30 PM, July 26, 2005  

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